Yesterday was sales conference day for Peace Hill Press, which means that I’m in New York. I don’t have any great photos this trip, but here’s the view out my window this morning:
(It’s kind of a grey day.)
During sales conference, I’m not in New York as an author; I’m here as a publisher with books to promote.
Most small presses have a distributor–a middle man who shops the books to the bookstores for us and takes a commission off the top. We can’t possibly make contact with all the independent bookstores out there–and in fact independent bookstores can’t possibly meet with all the small press publishers separately to evaluate the books. Who has the time? The major chains don’t deal directly with small presses either. Neither do libraries.
If you publish books for home educators, you can sell directly to your customers and through home education catalogs such as Rainbow. You can also deal with Amazon directly (although that’s a royal pain). But if you want to get your books out into the bookstores where most readers shop–non speciality bookstores–you need a distributor.
Norton, a little unusually, is both a publisher of its own books and a distributor for a number of small presses, including New Directions, Verso, Thames & Hudson, and Peace Hill Press. (Every time I look at this list, I feel like I want to sing, “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things is not the same…”)
Twice a year, Norton holds sales conference; the reps who actually go out and sell the books in Colorado and Texas and Washington and Arizona (etc.) all come to New York and get briefed on upcoming titles. Norton editors present Norton titles for the first two days, and then the affiliate publishers get their turn.
Most publishers do two catalogs a year–a spring-summer catalog, and a separate fall-winter catalog–but Peace Hill Press is small enough so that we’ve decided to only publish our titles in the fall and winter. That way we only have the expense and trouble of producing one catalog per year, and our books are available in the spring (the biggest selling season for home school books).
My half hour to present the Peace Hill Press Fall/Winter 2010 catalog came on Thursday. Right after lunch on the last day of the conference. I expect the reps were, at that point, hemorrhaging brain cells out of their ears, after four straight days of listening to editors and publishers hawk their books. So I consider it a personal favor that they all looked awake and interested.
I’m excited about how the books look–we’ve clarified the lessons and improved the typesetting.
and we’ve replaced the old pictures for the picture lessons with pencil drawings of classic paintings.
The other three new books on our list are still a secret. You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out more.
I also took to sales conference a brochure we’ve made up for bookstores that want to attract home educators. If you’d like to have a look at it, you can view it here: HS_BOOKSTORE
I think a lot of bookstore owners underestimate how happy home schoolers would be to shop at a local store. In fact, if you’d like to hand one of these brochures to your local bookstore manager, let us know and we’ll get you a copy. (You can email the webmaster at welltrainedmind.com.)
And now, finally, heading home. Another home school conference next weekend (it’s the busy season) so I’m looking forward to a quiet week on the farm.
That’s probably just ASKING for a tornado or tsunami or plague of locusts to hit us.